Facts about the Cabela's cabal
How to become a corporate welfare queen for fun and profit


Statement of former Nevada Assemblymember Vivian Freeman, D-Reno
(Ms. Freeman at the time was a candidate for council vs. incumbent Sharon Zadra)

The current Reno City Council, including my opponent, gave initial approval to a corporate welfare laden development known as the Cabela’s Project this past January. As reported in the August 6th Reno Gazette-Journal, Cabela's will be allowed to keep 75 percent of sales tax collected at the store to pay itself back for the costs it will incur in constructing the store location and making the necessary modifications to the I-80 Boomtown interchange by means of STAR bonds.

Furthermore, because the Boomtown area is in the redevelopment district, most of the property taxes generated by the Cabela’s Project will be redirected from local government general funds. Through 2028, which is the length of time it will take to pay off the STAR bonds for the Cabela’s Project, over $80 million in tax revenue will have been siphoned-off from education, police, fire and other public services.

As a concerned citizen and former legislator well-versed in the taxation process, I have numerous objections to the Cabela’s Project as it now stands.

First, it is upon mere conjecture that half of the sales tax revenue generated will come from out of state tourists as required by the STAR Bond statutes, especially since Cabela’s has told the Reno City Council they are seeking to build locations in California.

Why would tourists come over the pass simply to shop at a store they had access to closer to home?

Second, although my opponent has labeled me a "career politician," I know enough about private enterprise to recognize that Cabela’s has succeeded in putting its cost of doing business on the backs of local taxpayers to the detriment of public services with the help of a complicit city council.

Third, I agree with County Commissioner Jim Galloway’s assessment that the STAR Bond legislation was never designed to be implemented in tandem with a redevelopment district.

Fourth, the Reno City Council has convinced itself that it is necessary to subsidize the projects of corporations new to the area. Nevada communities do not have to give away the kitchen sink to attract businesses, they will come anyway because of our already friendly tax environment and low cost of living.

Growth proposals must be thoroughly planned and investigated so that private developers bear the burden of financing such projects until tax revenues are being generated that pay for the requisite city services to new locations. Economic development should be of benefit to the entire community.

The City of Reno has tremendous amounts of revenue, but too much is earmarked for corporate welfare programs that are the responsibility of the private sector. This misallocation of priorities starves parks, road construction, street resurfacing, police and fire protection and all other essential services which constitute a community.

Councilwoman Sharon Zadra has been actively promoting the Cabela’s Project since she visited a store location with Mayor Bob Cashell and Councilman Dwight Dortch over two years ago.

I would have hoped she could have come to some of the same conclusions about proper governance and fiscal responsibility.



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